Managing diabetes can be hard which is why you shouldn’t do it alone.
Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (CDCES) are medical professionals that tailor treatment to your needs with access growing due to representation from ADCES / AADE association.
We go over the CDCES role, the person-focused care provided and proven value they offer in helping people control diabetes.
What is a CDCES?
A Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) provides personal coaching on diabetes self care and prevention. They’re part of your diabetes care team working with doctors and others to tailor a diabetes management plan for you.
A CDCES uses education, management, prevention and support to help control diabetes.
The Certification Board for Diabetes Care and Education (website) oversees certification of CDCESs.
CDCEs are health professionals including RNs, dieticians and pharmacists with over a thousand hours of experience in diabetes care and education.
The Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists (ADCES) promotes the specialty nationally. The ADCES association is made up of over 12,000 members and has a large network of practitioners.
The group was formerly the American Association Of Diabetes Educators (AADE) and title was “certified diabetes educator” but was rebranded in early 2020 recognizing the range of expertise that work within the specialty.
How a CDCES Improves Care
Managing this disease is a long-term process, which is why working with a diabetes care and education specialist can greatly improve outcomes of your treatment. Below are the key benefits the specialty offers.
A specialist can assess your condition and lifestyle to develop a treatment plan suited for your needs. The health care system uses general standards of care for treating conditions and a CDCES then applies their expertise to customize care.
Realistically, physicians don’t have the time in their practice to provide the same level of support a CDCES can. CDCESs have more time with patients, which allows them to know patients better, understand conditions beyond the medical data, and adjust or advise on treatment based on patient feedback.
Specialists come from different medical backgrounds so they bring a more holistic view to diabetes care. CDCESs can be dieticians, nurses, pharmacists which all have a different clinical approach to disease control and treatment.
Diabetic related information can become overwhelming and it’s why ‘education specialist’ is emphasized in the practice (recall, it was called a certified diabetes educator).
A CDCES takes technical, clinical management information and turns it into diabetes self management education in a way the person can understand and feel confident about their treatment.
Support with Daily Care
Diabetes care and education specialists can help you manage common issues with daily self care. Like using a blood glucose monitor, pricking blood with less pain, or explaining side effects of medications. These may seem trivial but can make a difference in the quality of a person’s self care.
Diabetes care and education specialists are true experts in the practice of diabetes treatment. Primary care providers commonly use standardized guidance for treatment but that may not be ideal for your situation.
For example, a doctor prescribes insulin but the dosage needs fine tuning due to patient lifestyle and preferences (see our post on the importance of insulin dose adjustments).
Diabetes care education specialists can advocate your physician for specific changes or needs to treatment.
Accessing a CDCES
Many health insurance providers and Medicare cover diabetes care education specialists. Medicare coverage is important since many people with diabetes are low income and/or elderly.
Consultations are out-patient services held in clinics, medical offices, and even remote. In fact, telehealth services have increased due to COVID-19 since regulators eased up rules to allow more practitioners to offer telehealth, thus increasing access to CDCESs.
Other CDCES Resources
CDCESs also provide group classes on diabetes education which is a convenient option if time or access is limited. Check if your care provider offers these as well as the ADCES association website for any free patient resources.
A CDCES can improve your diabetes care with a tailored treatment plan that understands your lifestyle and preferences. The specialty brings you a holistic medical view with more time than physicians and true experts in diabetes care.
There may be reasons stopping you from proper diabetes self-care (which we wrote about here) so working with a CDCES can be the one-on-one coach you need to control diabetes.